Speckled Kingsnake

Lampropeltis holbrooki


The Speckled Kingsnake is a relatively common member of genus Lampropeltis found throughout Mississippi outside of the extreme northeast corner of the state (Conant & Collins, 1998). They inhabit woodlands, grasslands, coastal plains, and drainage valleys (Powell et al., 2016). They have been formerly considered a subspecies of the Eastern Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula). This species primarily constricts and eats other snakes, such as copperheads and cottonmouths, but may cannibalize as well as eat rodents, frogs, or other small vertebrates. Considered consolidated (or lumped) as a speckled variety of Lampropeltis nigra by recent genetic studies.

Typical “Speckled” Kingsnake from south Mississippi, © Robert Howell

Identifying Traits

  • Glossy black scales with yellow or cream speckling throughout
  • Juveniles may be semi-banded


Woodlands, prairies, coastal plains, drainage swamps and wetlands


Relatively secretive, but active during the day, and occasionally nocturnal in the warmer parts of the year. Usually active in morning and dusk.


Snakes, lizards, frogs, small mammals

Adult Speckled Kingsnake emerged from burrow, Orleans Par. (LA)
Young kingsnake, Tangipahoa Par. (LA)
A true Speckled Kingsnake with just a hint of yellow ventral coloration, Bienville Par. (LA), © CJ Hillard
Closeup of head, © Robert Howell